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Elisha and Naaman

In this story, the words of a slave lead an important enemy soldier to ask the man of God for help.

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and honorable because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria. He was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.

And the Syrians had gone out by companies and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.” And one went in and told his lord, saying, “Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.”

And the king of Syria said, “Go to! Go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel.”

And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand pieces of gold and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “Now when this letter is come unto you, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to you that you may recover him of his leprosy.”

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man does send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeks a quarrel against me.”

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Wherefore have you rent your clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times; and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.”

But Naaman was wroth and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God and strike his hand over the place and recover the leper.' Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

And his servants came near and spoke unto him and said, “My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, 'Wash and be clean?'”

Then went he down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, take a blessing of your servant.

But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.”

And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

And Naaman said, “Shall there not then, I pray you, be given to your servant two mules' burden of earth? For your servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. In this thing the LORD pardon your servant, that when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon--when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon--the LORD pardon your servant in this thing.”

And he said unto him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him a little way.

(2 Kings 5:1-19)

Words that May Be New
blessing: a kindness, a good act or a gift for someone.
burden: load.
captive: prisoner
company: a group of people.
consider: to think about.
deliverance: a rescue, an act of taking someone out of trouble or danger.
depart: to go away, to leave.
flesh: what the body of a person or animal is made of.
henceforth: from now on.
host: an army (as used here. It has other meanings as well.)
leper: someone who has leprosy.
leprosy: a severe skin disease. Today, "leprosy" is one disease, but in Bible times a group of diseases were all called leprosy.
pardon: to forgive.
master: the one who is the boss of a servant.
maid: a young woman or girl. It can also mean woman or girl who is a servant.
messenger: a person sent to speak to someone. One who carries a message.
prophet: a person who serves as a messenger from God.
quarrel: fight or argument.
rage: great anger.
raiment: clothing. "Changes of raiment" means sets of clothing.
recover: to make well (also to bring back).
rend: (rent) to tear or rip.
Rimmon: the name of a god worshiped by Syrians many years ago.
sacrifice: something given to a god.
strike: to hit.
talent: a unit of measure.
therewith: with, along with.
thus: this.
valor: bravery, good conduct.
wait: here it means to serve, but it usually means to watch until something happens.
wroth: angry.

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